BSA AIRBORNE 1st PATTERN:
ORIGINAL MANUFACTURER’S DRAWINGS
The overwhelming majority of the 70,000 Airborne bicycles manufactured were the later model with a single seat tube.
This is the first design, a lightweight version with a twin seat tube. Few were made. It was built in a hurry, to strict weight criteria. Like many innovations introduced during the war, in reality it was a prototype, and it proved to be too weak to withstand rough use. So the 2nd Pattern did not feature the unique duplex seat tube, which meant that it weighed more but was stronger.
1942 WW2 BSA Airborne Bicycle, 1st Pattern:
Early Twin Tube Model
Frame Number R1422 – The Earliest Recorded Survivor
BSA Model 40 Saddle
War Grade Tyres: Michelin ‘WD’ & Avon Avebury
This BSA Airborne was repainted many decades ago and has all the correct original parts. When I purchased it from a collector in Canada in 2014, I was told that it was the earliest surviving example.
If frame numbering started at 1000, which was common practice, this would have been the 422nd made, out of a total of around 70,000.
Declaring that you own the oldest surviving BSA Airborne is a challenge to the world of WW2 bicycle collectors. But nobody has yet published details of any earlier machine, so this remains the earliest recorded survivor.
THE FIRST PATTERN BSA AIRBORNE
PHOTOS OF AIRBORNE DETAILS:
SEAT TUBE MOUNT & BSA ‘MODEL 40’ SADDLE
The early model’s double seat tube can not be easily discerned in a side profile picture. But shape of the top of the seat tube can be easily seen from a distance. The seat tube mount is markedly different. The saddle actually fits into an extra tube fitted behind the twin seat tube, a radical departure from conventional bicycle design of the time.
FOLDING HANDLEBAR & ORIGINAL GRIPS
BSA AIRBORNE BRAKES
WAR GRADE TYRES: MICHELIN WD & AVON AVEBURY
A pair of good War Grade tyres is included. I’ve kept normal tyres on it for riding. The War Grade tyres are fine for display but I don’t want to damage them riding so they are not fitted. The Michelin says ‘WD’ on it.
MICHELIN ‘WD’ WAR GRADE
AVON AVEBURY WAR GRADE
POSTWAR: BSA AIRBORNE ARMY SURPLUS SALES